JC: 3 Things You Need to Know about the New Economics Syllabus

As part of MOE’s JERI (JC Education Review), and taking feedback from students and educators, the Junior College syllabus for Economics is changed for students taking their exams in 2017, ie new JC year 1 students starting JC this year.

Here are 3 things you need to know about the new syllabus (H2):

Someone at MOE got real creative with their new approach to Economics. There is now a very clear focus on decision-making. Good.
Someone at MOE got real creative with their new approach to Economics. There is now a very clear focus on decision-making. Good.

1. There is no change for the exam format

There are still 2 papers for H2: Paper 1 for two case studies and Paper 2 for three essays. There is however, now an explicit focus on higher-order questions, with about 60% of the marks allocated to evaluation and holistic marking. This is in line with the trend towards a focus on critical thinking in the Economics syllabus. For case studies, 12 marks (or 40%) will still be reserved for data-response questions (which are very easy to score for given the right coaching by a good tutor).

2. Additional focus on decision theory

Decision theory is a fancy way of describing how should people (rational economic agents) make good decisions (thinking at the margin, opportunity cost etc). This means students will/should be able to more easily apply what they learn to their own lives and find Economics more immediately relevant.

3. No more Keynesian Cross

Modern macroeconomics is hard, and most theories that economists take seriously are difficult to teach to Junior College students because they lack a rigorous microeconomics foundation. Some of what gets taught hence are quite silly, like the Keynesian Cross, which actually doesn’t make much sense. Glad there’s no more emphasis on this.

What I wished were included

There’s already slightly cooler stuff in the H3 syllabus, such as behavioural economics (cool but not sure if really useful), some more formalised logical thinking skills, game theory, and the Solow model.

The Solow model is something I feel should be included in the H2, as it can be used to teach lots of useful stuff such as total factor productivity, growth accounting and ideas about capital, human capital, and labour. It wouldn’t be more overwhelming for students, but enhance their overall understanding about the sources of growth.

Happy new year!

via Amar Rai
via Amar Rai

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